Roland und Karin Lenz
When people think of Thurgau, the first thing that comes to mind is apple cider. So much so, that locals joking refer to it as “Mostindien”, a humorous portmanteau of “Most” (apple cider) and “Ostindien” (East India). But of course, apples aren’t the only fruit to grow in this beautiful region. On a beautiful Sunday morning, put on your hiking boots and head out to Kartause Ittigen. The estate is well worth a visit and you can treat yourself to a hot cup of coffee before you leave. From there, follow the hiking trail to Ossingen through the woods and past the magnificent Iselisberg vineyards with their perfect southward orientation. You’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view and a wonderful wine tasting, for example at Karin and Roland Lenz’s famous wine estate.
While he was still studying œnology, Roland Lenz had the opportunity to take over 8 hectares on the Iselisberg. He was committed to ecological principles from the very beginning and so it was clear to him that he would cultivate the vineyards organically. However, his first attempt failed due to a lack of experience with the climatic and soil conditions. A few years passed before he tried again and ultimately succeeded. Today, joined by his wife Karin and a motivated team, he cultivates around 21 hectares according to the Bio Suisse Bud guidelines for organic farming (certified since 2011), which are considerably stricter than the Swiss or EU guidelines. Only 17 hectares are planted with vines, four have been given back to nature to enhance biodiversity.
White wines from Roland und Karin Lenz
Cuvée 1844 Grüner Veltliner
Cuvée 1844 Grüner Veltliner
Cuvée 1844 Blanc (ex. Iselisberger )
Red wines from Roland und Karin Lenz
More than 30 different grape varieties thrive on the glacial moraine soils, half of which are new varieties or cultivars. They are more resistant to disease and therefore require little to no plant protection treatment on the vineyard. In addition, when selecting new varieties, special attention is paid to current and expected changes in the climatic conditions. Roland Lenz’s vision of biodiversity not only entails planting a considerable quantity of compensation areas with hedges, fruit trees or forest, but also fostering grape diversity. Consequently, the estate started its own wine nursery in 2017, producing Solaris, Souvignier gris, Léon Millot, Cabernet Jura and Cabernet Blanc. In 2018, in collaboration with Valentin Blattner, a respected vine breeder, a ‘mother garden’ was added with 100 yet to be named varieties, which will eventually be microvinified in trial runs. The future is bright!
The biodiversity on the vineyards is reflected in the great diversity of the Lenz family’s wine range. It goes without saying that organic guidelines are also applied just as strictly in the cellar. Roland Lenz has been working closely with Baur au Lac Vins for many years. This collaboration has yielded a number of exclusive wines, produced from traditional grape varieties such as Pinot Noir as well as from vine varieties untypical for Switzerland such as Chenin Blanc or Green Veltliner, which are bottled under the label “Cuvée 1844”, the year the company was founded.
Roland and Karin Lenz are living proof that a large winegrowing business by Swiss standards can be successfully managed in adherence to organic guidelines. Their wines meet the highest quality standards because, in addition to their excellent flavour, their production quality offers significant added value. Furthermore, the winery is completely energy-independent. These concerted efforts to protect the environment in the broadest sense were rewarded twice – in 2015 and in 2018 – with the “Swiss Organic Winemaker of the Year” award.
Bodegas Amézola de la Mora
The Amézola de la Mora family vineyard originated in the 19th century. Already then it enjoyed a good reputation in large parts of the country. With the appearance of the dreaded phylloxera plague, however, production unfortunately came to an end. In 1986, Iñigo Amézola de la Mora brought the family estate back to life.
The Bruno Borie family, which is also the owner of Château Ducru-Beaucaillou 2e Cru Classé in Saint Julien), acquired the Château Fourcas Dumont in 2009 and from then on named it Château Fourcas-Borie.